A friend of mine bought a new Samsung DVD burner and installed it on his system. The DVD burner would read discs without problems but did not burn a single disk. He was so puzzled that he called me and we agreed that I would take a look at the system and see if I could find the problem why the burner was not burning DVDs and CDs.
The first thing that I checked was the transfer mode that was activated for the burner. I went to the Windows Device Manager, clicked on IDE ATA / ATAPI controllers and there with a right-click on the Primary IDE Channel which is where the DVD burner was connected to.
The advanced settings confirmed my assumption that the wrong Transfer Mode was selected. It was set to PIO mode and not DMA which was not correct. I tried activating the DMA mode from that menu and restarted the computer. Unfortunately though it was still set to PIO mode.
My next try was to take a look into the BIOS to make sure that the Transfer Mode was set to DMA in there as well. The BIOS was showing PIO mode as well giving me no option to change it to DMA mode.
It took some time but I decided to look at the cable that he used to connect the driver and that was when I realized that he was using a 40-conductor IDE cable instead of an 80-conductor one. I was pretty sure that this was the problem and told my friend to search for an 80-conductor cable and - I could not believe my luck - he really had one at home lying in the motherboard box.
What can I say. This solved the problem and he was able to burn with his DVD burner from then on.
So, if you install a new CD, DVD or Blu-Ray writer on a system running Windows, you better make sure you use the correct cable to connect it to the motherboard as you may end up with the same issue otherwise.
Update: Microsoft released a Fix-It solution recently that may help you as well. It checks performance related issues including whether devices are running in PIO mode.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.